African aid mission for teen pals

Wiganers and Lancaster University students Kate Frost, left, and Ella Oakley
Wiganers and Lancaster University students Kate Frost, left, and Ella Oakley

Two teenage Wigan pals are heading to Africa as part of a programme aimed at bringing hope to struggling communities in developing countries.

Ella Oakley and Kate Frost have been selected to join a Volunteer Eco Students Abroad (VESA) mission helping the indigenous people of remote villages in South Africa and Swaziland improve their living conditions and the education of their children, as well as working with the National Parks Authority on conservation projects.

The student pair were recruited to August’s project by a meeting they attended at Lancaster University. Ella, 19, from Appley Bridge, and 18-year-old Kate from Aspull, need to find £1,000 each to cover costs and are appealing for sponsors.

Kate said: “We are really excited about going out and making a difference in both the communities and the environment. It will be a fantastic opportunity to give back to the world and help people who really need it; we are really committed to making a difference.”

Ella added: “The fact we have this opportunity is amazing and we are not going to spend our time in Africa working hard and learning about the local culture to make a huge difference.”

The two-week “eco-breaks” are tailor-made, enabling participants to combine meaningful, community-based volunteer work with exciting adventure tourism.

The sponsorship that every volunteer raises, helps to cover the costs involved in participating in the program. These costs include hiring local skilled trades people to supervise and assist in the building projects, building materials and donations to local organisations. Every volunteer will complete a minimum of 40 hours of hands-on community based volunteer work.

In the first week the pair will be living in an African village. They will work with villagers and National Parks Authority rangers on a wide range of tasks.

One day this might involve helping teach English to the children at the orphanage or building sustainable farming units to help local families develop an income, the next observing and recording wildlife in the local wetlands.

The second week is a safari tour including hiking and snorkelling. They will get to visit an African witch doctor and get a deeper sense of the local culture.

For more details about the mission or to donate, visit them/29383577 0657755